Image: John Gerrard, Leaf Work (Derrigimlagh), 2020. Installation view for Galway International Arts Festival. Commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival for Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. Courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery. Copyright © John Gerrard. Photograph: Ross Kavanagh
Sydney, Australia: The Biennale of Sydney announced today that it will present over 330 artworks by 89 participants and 400 events as part of the 2022 edition, open to the public from 12 March to 13 June 2022.
The 23rd Biennale of Sydney, titled rīvus, meaning ‘stream’ in Latin, will feature new work and commissions responding to water ecology and relationships with the natural world. Audiences will experience large-scale immersive installations, site specific projects and living works by international participants including Kiki Smith, Marguerite Humeau, Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, John Gerrard, Jumana Emil Abboud and Ackroyd & Harvey alongside Australian participants such as Badger Bates, Clare Milledge, Julie Gough and D Harding. The list of participants extends beyond the realm of the visual arts and includes bodies of water and their custodians around the world including Australia, Bangladesh and Ecuador.
The 2022 edition has been developed and realised by a Curatorium comprised of Artistic Director and Colombian curator José Roca and co-curators Paschal Daantos Berry, Anna Davis, Hannah Donnelly and Talia Linz.
The largest contemporary art event of its kind in Australia, the Biennale of Sydney will be open free to the public from 12 March to 13 June 2022 at Art Gallery of New South Wales, Barangaroo including The Cutaway, Circular Quay, Information + Cultural Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, National Art School in partnership with Artspace, The Rocks and Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay Arts Precinct.
The Curatorium said: ‘rīvus is articulated around a series of conceptual wetlands situated along waterways of the Gadigal, Burramatagal and Cabrogal peoples. These imagined ecosystems are populated by artworks, experiments and research, responding to our connections, and disconnections, with water. Rivers have been the ways of communication and the givers of life for entire communities and a growing number of jurisdictions around the world are granting rivers legal personhood rights. As we see waterways having a voice in the courtroom, we wanted to extend this further into the public sphere with our exhibition. Many of the Biennale of Sydney participants have worked with waterways, local and international, to share their stories and raise these important conversations.
Participants will investigate the ecologies sustained by waterways worldwide. This can be seen in works like Marjetica Potrč’s collaboration with Wiradjuri Elder Uncle Ray Woods which tells the story of two rivers: the Soča in Slovenia and the Galari (Lachlan River); these works will be shown alongside Brazilian artist Caio Reisewitz mural-sized collage, which references the aquifer under the Amazon jungle. D Harding’s exploration of ancestral waterways with the local community has inspired a new carving work. The Australian premiere of The Great Animal Orchestra, a major installation created by American soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists, will immerse audiences in the sounds of vulnerable habitats in Africa, North America, the Pacific Ocean and the Amazon River, whilst French artist Marguerite Humeau will present a new sculptural commission envisioning a world in which mass extinction has accelerated to a point of no return.’
Barbara Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Biennale of Sydney said: ‘This year’s Biennale is going to feel great to experience. The city will be vibrant with artworks and events that invite everyone to come together and connect with each other, celebrating the participants and their stories and honouring the diversity of thoughts and ideas that empower us all. We are thrilled to unveil these incredible works and encourage visitors to flow between the venues, to see and feel different perspectives on our connections with waterways and each other.’
NSW Minister for the Arts, Ben Franklin said: ‘The Biennale of Sydney is always a highlight in the city’s cultural calendar and the NSW Government is delighted to support such a timely exhibition. We’re excited to welcome visitors to Sydney to experience the 23rd edition which features an impressive line-up of international and local participants from over 30 countries around the world, putting NSW artistic excellence front and centre on the world stage.’
Marking the first time this space has been used as a venue for the Biennale of Sydney, works to be presented at Barangaroo including The Cutaway include:
● Irish artist John Gerrard, best known for his sculptures and installations which typically take the form of digital simulations, will present Leaf Work (Derrigimlagh) (2020). Displayed on a monumental 6 m x 6 m LED wall set into a polished mirrored pavilion on Barangaroo headland, Gerrard has taken digital technology usually employed by the commercial gaming industry to create virtual worlds that simulate extremely detailed and authentic landscapes. Presenting a single female figure clad from head to toe in green Irish spring leaves who slowly walks in a circle upon an empty landscape, Leaf Work animates the stress felt by the environment in a response to the escalating climate crisis.
● Cave Urban, a Sydney-based multidisciplinary studio formed by artists, architects and designers, will present Flow, one of the largest bamboo structures ever produced in Australia. The site-specific, immersive installation is the largest project Cave Urban has ever undertaken and is inspired by the flow of a river. Spanning 600 square metres the work will weave throughout the expanse of The Cutaway moving between and around the architecture and hovering above the other artworks.
● The Australian premiere of The Great Animal Orchestra, a major immersive installation created by American soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause and London-based collective United Visual Artists. Presented in partnership with Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, this powerful environmentally focused work draws from Bernie Krause’s archive of recordings with a soundscape of 15,000 animal species recorded over the last 50 years from both terrestrial and marine natural habitats. Krause’s unparalleled research is a rare insight into the unseen world of animals. It reveals the beauty and the intricacy of animal vocalisations, which are now in danger of being silenced by human activity. The immersive soundscape comes to life with visualisations, created by United Visual Artists, of each animal’s contributions to the ‘orchestra’ in vulnerable habitats in Africa, North America, the Pacific Ocean and the Amazonas (Amazon River).
● Mata Aho Collective, a collaboration between four Māori women, will present He Toka Tū Moana | She’s a Rock, a woven installation responding to the architecture of The Cutaway. The work references the meeting place of fresh and salt water and is inspired by traditional Māori strapping systems called Kawe.
● D Harding, a descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples, will collaborate on a participatory project with their community and family in Woorabinda, exploring ancestral waterways. This project will culminate in a mapping carving by Harding presented at The Cutaway.
● Mexican artist Tania Candiani will present a hanging sculptural sound installation hovering in The Cutaway space. The sculpture appears as branches, symbolising waterway patterns, with pre-Hispanic wind instruments and tiny speakers emitting sounds of Australian migratory birds.
At the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia works reflect on deep time, primal waters, and ancient histories.
● American artist Kiki Smith will present a series of large-scale tapestries exploring themes of climate change and climate justice, and vulnerability of certain species.
● French artist Tabita Rezaire based in French Guiana, presents Mamelles Ancestrales, drawing inspiration from the megalithic landscapes of Senegal and The Gambia, space debris, archaeology, astronomy, numerology, theology and African understandings of the cosmos. Displayed on a large floor-based screen surrounded by a circle of stones, the film is the result of the artist’s research and expeditions to ancestral sites.
● Venezuelan artist Milton Becerra will present an installation with three large stones held in space by a network of thread. These threads are the structural elements holding the stones, which appear to levitate as central points within the mass of energy. The lines that radiate from them simulate orbits that create vibrations and subtle sounds.
● Slovenian artist and architect Marjetica Potrč presents a new work, The House of Agreement Between Humans and the Earth, a structure that looks at the relationship between humans and the natural world. This is presented alongside her signature wall drawings telling the rights of two rivers: the River Soča in Slovenia and the Galari (Lachlan River) on Wiradjuri Country in Australia, facilitated by conversations with Wiradjuri Elder Uncle Ray Woods and academic and filmmaker, Bernard Sullivan.
● Alongside the artworks, a 365-million-year-old fish fossil from Canowindra NSW will be displayed to the public for the first time.
At the Art Gallery of New South Wales, works deal with ideas around rewilding and caring for Country.
● Barkandji elder Badger Bates will present a monumental wallpaper work in the entrance of the Art Gallery based on one of his linocuts of Lake Menindee, depicting the fish kills of the drying lake, reminding us of a shared responsibility for Country.
● English duo Ackroyd & Harvey have researched native Australian grasses and ethnobotany to create a new series of large-scale photographic prints on grass. The resulting works will be living portraits of Australian environmental activist, Lille Madden and her grandfather, Gadigal Elder, Uncle Charles (Chicka) Madden. These portraits will eventually fade, in a poignant call-to-action addressing the climate crisis.
● Mike Parr will pay tribute to seminal artist Joseph Beuys 7000 Oaks project, of which the only iteration in the Southern Hemisphere is planted outside the Art Gallery of NSW, with a re-creation of a 1975 performance work by Czech artist Petr Štembera, Asleep in the tree for three days, taking place in the Blue Mountains.
● The 23rd Biennale of Sydney will posthumously present one of Naziha Mestaoui’s most recognised projects, One Beat, One Tree, which debuted during the United Nations Climate Conference in 2015. Using video-mapping techniques and movement tracking, audiences plant a virtual tree and encourage it to grow with their body movement. A real tree will be planted for each virtual one.
The Biennale returns to Pier 2/3 for the first time in 10 years, after its major redevelopment as part of Walsh Bay Arts Precinct. Many of the works respond to “briny” environments, where saltwater meets freshwater, with highlights including:
● Trawlwoolway artist Julie Gough has been working with the First Nations Collections and 3D Digitisation teams at the Australian Museum and will bring together one hundred 3D printed replicas of Tasmanian stone tools from the Australian Museum Collection that have been held off-Country in Sydney. The stone tools are connected to sites along rivers and tributaries that Gough has been exploring by kayak.
● Casino Wake Up Time, a collective of Indigenous women in Northern NSW working in traditional Bundjalung weaving, will present a suspended installation that explores stories of removal.
● Torres Strait 8, a collective on the frontlines of advocacy for the climate crisis in Torres Strait, will participate with a hybrid art-as-protest piece featuring campaign materials created as part of the Our Islands Our Home Campaign. The collective’s participation in the Biennale will continue to magnify the campaign fighting for justice for the communities of Zenadh Kes in holding the Australian Government accountable on climate change policy.
● British-Finnish artist, composer and performer Hanna Tuulikki will present a new video work looking at the mythical beings known as selkies, singing a piece she has composed to explore multispecies communication.
● Australian artist Clare Milledge will present a new large-scale immersive installation, taking inspiration from an old Irish tale of the forming of a river. The installation will encompass painting, water, plants, sculpture, writing and sound.
At the National Art School, presented in partnership with Artspace, works explore ideas around still and stagnant waters, as well as submerged and re-emerging histories.
● French artist Marguerite Humeau envisions a world in which mass extinction has accelerated to a point of no return. At the National Art School she will present a new outdoor sculpture commission inspired by the powerful force of currents that connect us and all more-than-human life on earth and beyond. Humeau will also present a significant piece from her MIST series, including a sound work representing the soul of a marine mammal, in a former warehouse in The Rocks.
● Colombian artist Carolina Caycedo will present a large-scale mural of satellite photographs depicting the progressive devastation on the Magdalena River caused by the El Quimbo Dam, as well as sculptures, textiles and drawings that speak to the political agency of waterways.
● Filipino artist Cian Dayrit will present a new embroidered textile piece created in collaboration with local practitioners, speaking out against dam projects and the impacts of privatisation of common natural resources.
● The Myall Creek Gathering Cloak comes out of a contemporary revitalisation of traditional possum skin cloak making for healing, cultural renewal and reclamation. The Cloak shows the songlines of Gomeroi people from Boggabilla to Glen Innes and is a collaborative work made by local First Nations Community including Elders, descendants of survivors of the Myall Creek massacre, and members of the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial.
● English artist Joey Holder will transform the chapel space, taking audiences on an aquatic journey to an undiscovered deep sea brine lake and the strange, shapeshifting creatures that live there.
At the Information + Cultural Exchange in Parramatta, Manila-based artist Leeroy New, famously known for creating Lady Gaga’s “muscle dress” will present a site-specific work, using recycled, organic and industrial materials wrapping around the façade of the building. The form is based on the organic root formations of the iconic Balete tree of Southeast Asia.
The full list of participants as part of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022) are:
• A4C Arts for the Commons (Ecuador / Italy)
• Jumana Emil Abboud (Palestine / England)
• Ackroyd & Harvey (England / Italy)
• Alta Tecnología Andina (Peru)
• Robert Andrew (Yawuru / Australia)
• Atrato River (Colombia)
• Baaka River (Australia)
• Ana Barboza and Rafael Freyre (Peru)
• Badger Bates (Barkandji / Australia)
• Milton Becerra (Venezuela / France)
• Will Benedict (USA / France)
• Birrarung / Yarra River (Australia)
• Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa)
• Boral River (Bangladesh)
• Burramatta River (Australia)
• Hera Büyüktaşçıyan (Turkey)
• Tania Candiani (Mexico)
• Canowindra Fish Fossil (Australia)
• Yoan Capote (Cuba)
• Casino Wake Up Time (Bundjalung, Kamillaroi / Australia)
• Cave Urban (Australia; Chile / Australia)
• Carolina Caycedo (Colombia / USA)
• Alex Cerveny (Brazil)
• Erin Coates (Australia)
• Cian Dayrit (Philippines)
• Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson (USA)
• Matias Duville (Argentina)
• Dyarubbin/Hawkesbury River Placenames (Australia)
• Clemencia Echeverri (Colombia)
• Embassy of the North Sea (Netherlands North Sea / The Netherlands)
• Virgile Flores (France)
• Nicole Foreshew (Wiradjuri / Australia)
• Jessie French (Australia)
• John Gerrard (Ireland / Austria)
• Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (England)
• Juliana Góngora Rojas (Colombia)
• Julie Gough (Trawlwoolway / Australia)
• Senior Craftsman Rex Greeno and son Dean Greeno (Palawa / Australia)
• David Haines & Joyce Hinterding (England; Australia / Australia)
• Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe (Yanomami, Venezuela)
• D Harding (Bidjara, Ghungalu, Garingbal / Australia)
• Joey Holder (England)
• Marguerite Humeau (France / England)
• Iltja Ntjarra (Many Hands) Art Centre (Mparntwe / Australia)
• Aluaiy Kaumakan (Paiwan Nation, Paridrayan Community / Taiwan)
• John Kelly and Rena Shein (Dunghutti / Australia; South Africa / Australia)
• Pushpa Kumari (India)
• Eva L’Hoest (Belgium)
• Latent Community (Albania / Greece)
• Living Seawalls (Australia)
• Julia Lohmann (Germany / Finland)
• Gail Mabo (Meriam Mir / Australia)
• Qavavau Manumie (Nunavut / Canada)
• Nuwandjali Marawili (Yolŋu / Australia)
• Martuwarra River (Australia)
• Mata Aho Collective (Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Rangitāne, Ngāti Kahungungu ki Wairarapa / Aotearoa New Zealand)
• Naziha Mestaoui (Belgium)
• Clare Milledge (Australia)
• Yuko Mohri (Japan)
• Moogahlin Performing Arts with Aanmitaagzi Big Medicine Studio (Murrawarri, Biripi / Australia; Ojibway, Mohawk, Mi’kmaq / Canada)
• Napo River (Ecuador)
• National Committee of the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial and local First Nations Communities (on Gamilaroi/ Gamilarray/ Gomeroi Country / Australia)
• Leeroy New (Philippines)
• New Landscapes Institute (Joni Taylor, Ben Blakebrough, M.A.C Studio + Ant Farm) (South Africa; Australia; USA / Australia / USA)
• New-Territories _ S/he _f.Roche (France)
• Wura-Natasha Ogunji (Nigeria / USA)
• Mike Parr (Australia)
• Outi Pieski (Sámi / Finland)
• Marjetica Potrč with Ray Woods (Slovenia; Wiradjuri / Australia)
• Caio Reisewitz (Brazil)
• Tabita Rezaire (France / French Guiana)
• Duke Riley (USA)
• Abel Rodríguez (Mogaje Guihu) (Muinane, Nonuya / Colombia)
• Teho Ropeyarn (Angkamuthi, Yadhaykana / Australia)
• Diana Scherer (Germany / The Netherlands)
• Kiki Smith (USA)
• Paula de Solminihac (Chile)
• STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors) and Jiva Parthipan (Australia)
• Jenna Sutela (Finland / Germany)
• Imhathai Suwatthanasilp (Thailand)
• The Great Animal Orchestra – Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists (USA; England)
• Leanne Tobin (Dharug / Australia)
• Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon / France)
• Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi (Tonga / Aotearoa New Zealand)
• Torres Strait 8 (Zenadh Kes / Australia)
• Hanna Tuulikki (England / Finland / Scotland )
• Vilcabamba River (Ecuador)
• Gal Weinstein (Israel)
• Zheng Bo (Bai / China)
For all of the 94 days of the exhibition, the projects and ideas will be activated and explored through an expansive program of events and experiences, titled The Waterhouse, including the return of school programs. Anchored at The Cutaway at Barangaroo, the public program conceived by Lleah Smith, Curator of Programs and Learning, in conversation with the Curatorium, will activate the city through daily programming for all ages and abilities.
Exhibition entry is free. For everyone’s health and safety, COVID-19 vaccination (age 16+) at all venues and masks (age 12+) at indoor venues are requirements for all visitors.
The 23rd Biennale of Sydney will be open to the public from Saturday, 12 March to Monday, 13 June 2022.
For further information on the Biennale of Sydney, please visit biennaleofsydney.art.
ABOUT THE BIENNALE OF SYDNEY
The Biennale of Sydney is a leading international contemporary art event. It plays an indispensable role in Australia’s engagement with the world, and a meaningful role in the life of the nation. For almost 50 years, the Biennale has been a unifying force in the Australian arts sector, embedding boldly creative art exhibitions and experiences in the everyday life of Sydney and putting the artistic excellence of Australia front and centre on the world stage. The Biennale of Sydney has commissioned and presented exceptional works of art by more than 1900 national and international artists from more than 130 countries. The Biennale of Sydney is committed to free access for all.
Situated along the waterways of the Gadigal, Barramatagal and Cabrogal people, the Biennale of Sydney in 2022 titled rīvus will be articulated through a series of conceptual wetlands and imagined ecosystems populated by artworks, public programs, experiments and research, following the currents of meandering tributaries that expand into a delta of interrelated ideas.
rīvus, meaning ‘stream’ in Latin, will enable aqueous beings – rivers, wetlands and other salt and freshwater ecosystems – to share a dialogue with artists, architects, designers, scientists, and communities. Considering the water ecology’s perspective raises unlikely questions: Can a river sue over psychoactive sewage? Will oysters grow teeth in aquatic revenge? What do the eels think? Are waves the ocean’s desire?’
Those invited to take part in the Biennale will be known as ‘participants’ rather than ‘artists’, reflecting their diverse talents, skills, practices and modes of being that extend beyond the realm of the visual arts.
The Curatorium developing and realising the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022) includes:
● José Roca, Artistic Director, 23rd Biennale of Sydney
● Paschal Daantos Berry, Head of Learning and Participation, Art Gallery of New South Wales
● Anna Davis, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
● Hannah Donnelly, Producer, First Nations Programs, Information + Cultural Exchange (I.C.E.)
● Talia Linz, Curator, Artspace
Note: rīvus means ‘stream’ in Latin. Interestingly, the word ‘rivalry’ has its origins in the Latin root rivālis which is derived from rīvus. rivālis / rivalry means ‘one who uses the same stream / water source’.
For further information please contact:
• Jasmine Hersee, firstname.lastname@example.org, +61 451 087 196
• Sasha Haughan, email@example.com, +61 405 006 035
• Kym Elphinstone, firstname.lastname@example.org +61 421 106 139